Call for Proposals: Building Collaborations between Official Statistics and Journalism Skip to main content

Call for Proposals: Building Collaborations between Official Statistics and Journalism

Beirut, Lebanon

Proposals are due 20 July 2018, and winners will be announced by 3 August 2018

Ahead of the UN World Data Forum 2018, taking place in Dubai from 22 to 24 October, the Columbia Journalism School’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation in collaboration with UN-DESA’s Statistics Division is pleased to announce a call for project proposals on data storytelling, aimed at nurturing new collaborations between national statistics systems (NSSs), including national statistical offices (NSOs), and journalism outlets. 

Proposals should identify ways in which data journalists can work together with national statistical offices to better inform the public. As examples, projects might involve finding untold stories behind local, regional or national data. They might create novel data visualizations or other forms of storytelling through text, sound and video. Or they could formulate methods to prevent the misuse or misunderstanding of data.

No matter what the form, projects should include substantive involvement from both an NSO and a journalistic outlet, to form a true collaboration. 

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of representatives from the Brown Institute, UN-DESA’s Statistics Division, practicing data journalists and Chief Statisticians from NSOs. Out of all proposals received, three winners will be selected. The team with the top-ranked project will receive up to $5,000 to implement or prototype their idea. Part of the award will support travel to present their work at the UN World Data Forum 2018 in October in Dubai.

Beyond a prototype or presentation, the hope is that this opportunity might inspire future organic collaborations between these two institutions, providing an inspiring example that could help shape the futures of both journalism and official statistics.

Please upload a single PDF file containing 

  1. A cover letter briefly describing the team -- the NSO/NSS and the journalistic outlet.
  2. A two-page proposal describing your project. Please explain how your work will fill an existing need to better inform the public.
  3. Deadline: 20 July 2018

For a list of National Statistics Offices see . Following the OECD, a National Statistical System is “the ensemble of statistical organisations and units within a country that jointly collect, process and disseminate official statistics on behalf of national government.”

While preference will be given to those proposals that demonstrate a substantive collaboration between a journalism outlet and a producer of national data, proposals for collaboration between a journalism outlet and a local data producer will also be considered.

For questions please email
The UN World Data Forum
The UN World Data Forum 2018 will be hosted by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistical Authority of the UAE, with support from the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

A number of partners – including governments, ESCWA, the World Bank, UNICEF, Paris 21 (OECD), the UN Foundation and several civil society organizations and institutes – are collaborating to organize the Forum.
The Forum was agreed by the UN Statistical Commission based on a recommendation by the UN Secretary-General’s Independent Expert and Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.  Improved use of data and statistics will be crucial to achieving the transformational vision of a better future for people and the planet, set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders at the UN in September 2015.

The UN cites estimates that 90 per cent of data in the world has been created in the last two years, and that the volume of data is set to increase by 40 per cent annually.  This expansion in new sources of data, arising mainly from mobile, digital and satellite technologies, is creating large-scale opportunities for innovative solutions, which need to be integrated with strengthened official data mechanisms and structures.
For more information:
In New York: Pragati Pascale | E: sends e-mail) | M: +1 917-744-2114;
Daniella Khadivi | E: sends e-mail) | M: +1 646-454-1965
UN World Data Forum | | @UNDataForum
In Beirut: Nabil Abu-Dargham +961-70-99 31 44email:  
Ms Rania Harb: +96170008879
Ms Mirna Mahfouz:  +961-70-827372
Mr Haidar Fahs: +961-70-079021